air, and began, I suppose, to think of something else;

time:2023-12-04 05:39:46source:qsjedit:ios

Spectre-Scullion, it turns out, had been employed by Grumkow, as spy upon one of the Queen's Maids of Honor,--suspected by him to be a No-maid of Dishonor, and of ill intentions too,--who lodges in that part of the Palace: of whom Herr Grumkow wishes intensely to know, "Has she an intrigue with Creutz the new Finance-Minister, or has she not?" "Has, beyond doubt!" the Spectre-Scullion hopes he has discovered, before exorcism. Upon which Grumkow, essentially illuminated as to the required particular, manages to get the Spectre-Scullion loose again, not quite hanged; glozing the matter off to his Majesty on his return: for the rest, ruins entirely the Creutz speculation; and has the No-maid called of Honor--with whom Creutz thought to have seduced the young King also, and made the young King amenable--dismissed from Court in a peremptory irrefragable manner. This is the secret of the Spectre-Scullion, fully revealed by Wilhelmina many years after.

air, and began, I suppose, to think of something else;

This one short glance into the Satan's Invisible-World of the Berlin Palace, we could not but afford the reader, when an actual Goblin of it happened to be walking in our neighborhood. Such an Invisible-World of Satan exists in most human Houses, and in all human Palaces;--with its imps, familiar demons, spies, go-betweens, and industrious bad-angels, continually mounting and descending by THEIR Jacob's-Ladder, or Palace Backstairs: operated upon by Conjurers of the Grumkow-Creutz or other sorts. Tyrannous Mamsell Leti, [Leti, Governess to Wilhelmina, but soon dismissed for insolent cruelty and other bad conduct, was daughter of that Gregorio Leti ("Protestant Italian Refugee," "Historiographer of Amsterdam," &c. &c.), who once had a pension in this country; and who wrote History-Books, a Life of Cromwell one of them, so regardless of the difference between true and false.] treacherous Mamsell Ramen, valet-surgeon Eversmann, and plenty more: readers of Wilhelmina's Book are too well acquainted with them. Nor are expert Conjurers wanting; capable to work strange feats with so plastic an element as Friedrich Wilhelm's mind. Let this one short glimpse of such Subterranean World be sufficient indication to the reader's fancy.

air, and began, I suppose, to think of something else;

Creutz was not dismissed, as some people had expected he might be. Creutz continues Finance-Minister; makes a great figure in the fashionable Berlin world in these coming years, and is much talked of in the old Books,--though, as he works mostly underground, and merely does budgets and finance-matters with extreme talent and success, we shall hope to hear almost nothing more of him. Majesty, while Crown-Prince, when he first got his regiment from Papa, had found this Creutz "Auditor" in it; a poor but handsome fellow, with perhaps seven shillings a week to live upon; but with such a talent for arranging, for reckoning and recording, in brief for controlling finance, as more and more charmed the royal mind. [Mauvillon ("Elder Mauvillon," ANONYMOUS), Histoire de Frederic Guillaume I., par M. de M--(Amsterdam et Leipzig, 1741), i. 47. A vague flimsy compilation;--gives abundant "State-Papers" (to such as want them), and echoes of old Newspaper rumor. Very copious on Creutz.]

air, and began, I suppose, to think of something else;

One of Majesty's first acts was to appoint him Finance-Minister; [4th May, 1713: Preuss, i. 349. n.] and there he continued steady, not to be overset by little flaws of wind like this of the Spectre-Scullion's raising. It is certain he did, himself, become rich; and helped well to make his Majesty so. We are to fancy him his Majesty's bottle-holder in that battle with the Finance Nightmares and Imbroglios, when so much had to be subjugated, and drilled into step, in that department. Evidently a long-headed cunning fellow, much of the Grumkow type;--standing very low in Wilhelmina's judgment; and ill-seen, when not avoidable altogether, by the Queen's Majesty. "The man was a poor Country Bailiff's (AMTMANN'S, kind of Tax-manager's) son: from Auditor of a regiment," Papa's own regiment, "he had risen to be Director of Finance, and a Minister of State. His soul was as low as his birth; it was an assemblage of all the vices," [Wilhelmina, i. 16.] says Wilhelmina, in the language of exaggeration.--Let him stand by his budgets; keep well out of Wilhelmina's and the Queen's way;--and very especially beware of coming on Grumkow's field again.

This Siege of Stralsund, the last military scene of Charles XII., and the FIRST ever practically heard of by our little Fritz, who is now getting into his fourth year, and must have thought a great deal about it in his little head,--Papa and even Mamma being absent on it, and such a marching and rumoring going on all round him,--proved to be otherwise of some importance to little Fritz.

Most of his Tutors were picked up by the careful Papa in this Stralsund business. Duhan de Jandun, a young French gentleman, family-tutor to General Count Dohna (a cousin of our Minister Dohna's), but fonder of fighting than of teaching grammar; whom Friedrich Wilhelm found doing soldier's work in the trenches, and liked the ways of; he, as the foundation-stone of tutorage, is to be first mentioned. And then Count Fink von Finkenstein, a distinguished veteran, high in command (of whose qualities as Head-Tutor, or occasional travelling guardian Friedrich Wilhelm had experience in his own young days [ Biographisches Lexikon aaler Helden und Militairpersonen, welche sich in Preussischen Diensten berumht gemacht haben (4 vols. Berlin, 1788), i. 418, ? Finkenatein.--A praiseworthy, modest, highly correct Book, of its kind; which we shall, in future, call Militair-Lexikon, when referring to it.]); and Lieutenant-Colonel Kalkstein, a prisoner-of-war from the Swedish side, whom Friedrich Wilhelm, judging well of him, adopts into his own service with this view: these three come all from Stralsund Siege; and were of vital moment to our little Fritz in the subsequent time. Colonel Seckendorf, again, who had a command in the four thousand Saxons here, and refreshed into intimacy a transient old acquaintance with Friedrich Wilhelm,-- is not he too of terrible importance to Fritz and him? As we shall see in time!--

For the rest, here is another little incident. We said it had been a disappointment to Papa that his little Fritz showed almost no appetite for soldiering, but found other sights more interesting to him than the drill-ground. Sympathize, then, with the earnest Papa, as he returns home one afternoon,--date not given, but to all appearance of that year 1715, when there was such war-rumoring, and marching towards Stralsund;--and found the little Fritz, with Wilhelmina looking over him, strutting about, and assiduously beating a little drum.

The paternal heart ran over with glad fondness, invoking Heaven to confirm the omen. Mother was told of it; the phenomenon was talked of,--beautifulest, hopefulest of little drummers. Painter Pesne, a French Immigrant, or Importee, of the last reign, a man of great skill with his brush, whom History yet thanks on several occasions, was sent for; or he heard of the incident, and volunteered his services. A Portrait of little Fritz drumming, with Wilhelmina looking on; to which, probably for the sake of color and pictorial effect, a Blackamoor, aside with parasol in hand, grinning approbation, has been added,--was sketched, and dexterously worked out in oil, by Painter Pesne. Picture approved by mankind there and then. And it still hangs on the wall, in a perfect state, in Charlottenburg Palace; where the judicious tourist may see it without difficulty, and institute reflections on it.


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